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Pigeon on lawn

Discussion in 'Nature' started by gardenersassistant, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. G3, 45-200.

    I'm very much in the learning phase with the G3, and I don't have much experience of bird photos and what makes them good or not, and perhaps my standards are low and I am easily pleased, coming recently as I have from a small sensor superzoom. All that said, I am well pleased thus far with the image quality I am getting from the G3 and the kit lenses.

    For these the camera was on the tripod, which had its central column reversed. The adjustable arm at the end of the central column held the ball head not far off the ground, a setup I had been using for macros when the birds touched down. The images were all taken at full zoom (without a macro add-on lens of course).

    I had to keep my hands on the camera (and the ball head loose) because the birds were moving the whole time. Also, there is a significant amount of play in the lateral arm's position even when everything is tightened up. I should therefore perhaps have turned image stabilisation on. I generally have image stabilisation off for macros, where I try to give time for the rig to settle down before initiating image capture with the remote release, a technique which was obviously not a runner with the pigeons. (If I have to keep my hands on the camera for a close-up/macro I might turn image stabilisation on if I remember, although I don't know whether image stabilisation really helps or not for macros.)

    I found tracking the birds a bit difficult (lack of practice and poor coordination), which was down to me. I found taking the pictures at the exact time I wanted problematic as the camera did not respond instantly to a full press of the shutter button. A known issue of course, and not a complaint incidentally.

    These were all captured as ISO 800 JPEGs using AWB (adjusted 5 notches towards Amber and two notches towards Magenta), and with Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness and Noise Reduction all at their lowest setting of -2.

    Light PP in CS2 comprised - Mild compositional crop, mild defog (USM with Amount 7%, Radius 30 pixels, Threshold 0), Curves (S-Curve, down 4 or so at 1/4 across and down 1 or 0 at 3/4 across.), resize to 900 pixels high, mild Smart Sharpen Amount 35%, Radius 0.3 pixels. (The "Original" size images that you can see by clicking through to flickr are about 1200 pixels wide, and this is the viewing size for which the sharpening was tuned.)

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    0380 2 2011_08_03 P1100372 PS1 CrDf7x30Cu900hSS35x0.3 by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

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    0380 3 2011_08_03 P1100376 PS1 CrDf7x30Cu900hSS35x0.3 by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

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    0380 4 2011_08_03 P1100379 PS1 CrDf7x30Cu900hSS35x0.3 by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

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    0380 5 2011_08_03 P1100380 PS1 CrDf7x30Cu900hSS35x0.3SelSh by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

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    0380 6 2011_08_03 P1100382 PS1 CrDf7x30Cu900hSS35x0.3 by gardenersassistant, on Flickr
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  2. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Really pleasing shots. Nicely sharp. Bokeh is a bit nervous but your use of DoF is right on.
  3. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Plump little guys.

    Good eats?!?:biggrin:
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  4. Thanks.

    I'm unused to having so many stops of aperture to play with. I have been experimenting in the last couple of days, exploring how the character of the bokeh changes depending on aperture, distance to the background, nature of the background. It is all new and rather unpredictable for me as yet.

    The bokeh for these (taken before I started exploring this area) was what it happened to be with the aperture I happened to choose - another decision that was not exactly random, but was much more guesswork than judgement. So much to learn. What fun I'm having!
  5. Oh, don't let my wife hear that - I'll never hear the end of it!

    [But now you mention it, actually, no, IMO. When I was young, a long, long time ago, and was a Boy Scout, we skinned, gutted and cooked a pigeon. Hardly any meat on it, and not a taste to my liking at least.]
  6. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

    Good Shots

    Personally I like to get closer. I cheat. I hang a feeder right outside a window. Making sure the window is nice and clean and not reflecting any light. I have to move around during the day to avoid these weird light patches in the window glass.

    I don't know anything about bird photography either. I just shoot em. :biggrin:



    That first one is not a crop. 75/300mm Oly lens. The second one is cropped beyond mesure. :rolleyes: 
  7. Shield

    Shield Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 11, 2011
    Worthington Ohio
    I must be easily impressed. Those pigeon photos are flat out AMAZING! So good in fact, since I sold my 14-140 yesterday, I'm thinking about picking up the 45-200 lens!

    All the pics in this thread are great, really great!
  8. We have feeders but they are ugly cage things that the smaller birds go inside of and are obscured by the bars. They aren't really any good photographically. So I can see the advantage of having the sort of feeders you have, and having them close. Birds are such appealing subjects, and it's great when you can get a really close and detailed look at them. I love it on the (for me at least) rare occasions when it is possible to capture birds without any man-made objects in the picture. For example, like the lovely Dove pictures in your gallery. Very much to my taste.
  9. Thanks. I'm glad you like them.

    But ...

    Whoa! Don't I see a 100-300 in your sig? Surely that is a better lens for birds isn't it? Longer reach. Better optics too? (I'm guessing, going by the price of it).

    Bear in mind that the conditions were pretty optimal - large subjects, close, not moving very fast, good enough light for shutter speeds of 1/320 and 1/400, camera on a fairly stable platform (significantly more stable than hand held at least). And some possibly interesting camera settings and some careful, albeit gentle, PP. So I'm not sure how big a factor the lens was in the overall scheme of things.

    Now, if you wanted the 45-200 as a relatively inexpensive way to fill the gap from 45 to 100 in your current lens set, then that would make sense. But I wouldn't expect it to produce the quality of your other lenses.
  10. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

    Definitely agree on it being better not to have the feeder in the pic. One of my feeders hangs in a tree and I do get some shots with birds perched close enough and not actually at the feeder.

    Like you I'm using a ball-head somewhat loose and trying to follow the birds as they hop around. It's pretty labor intensive isn't it? :biggrin: Maybe a gimble head would be better. I don't know.

    I never knew how entertaining the little creatures can be however when you closely observe their behavior. The different species have very different attitudes and different birds distinct, so it seems, personalities.

  11. Tempt them into range. Nice.

    To be honest I rarely try to track birds as they hop around, not the smaller ones anyway. It's too difficult for me - my reactions are slow and my eye/hand/brain coordination is clunky. So I tend to stick with stationary and slow moving targets.

    I don't know either. I had to do some research just to find out what a gimble head is! Looks like an interesting piece of kit, and I can see the logic of it. As to how useful, who knows?

    I think that's an advantage you have over me. The things I photograph most - insects, spiders, snails etc - don't come across as having much by way of personalities (not that I have spotted anyway). Flowers even less so of course.:smile:

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    Oh, that's nice. (One compositional quibble - I'd prefer some space in front of the subject rather than behind it, but no doubt there were branches or whatever in the way on the right and this was the only practical crop.)

    What is that wrapped around the branch it is perched on? It makes a very interesting addition to my eye.
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  12. Shield

    Shield Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 11, 2011
    Worthington Ohio
    Bingo, that was the plan. Yes I have the 100-300mm and it's a great telephoto lens...:smile:
  13. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

    Yeah, that was the only crop available. To the right was a large section of tree bark with some really odd moire effects. :tongue:

    The object below the bird is ball moss. It's a bracheophyte (sp?) that grows around here. ( central Texas ) Gets about five times bigger than the small piece in this pic. Some trees are nearly covered with it but they say it is not a parasite and does not harm the tree. Occasionally it even grows on overhead wires. :smile:
  14. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    The pigeon looks over sharpened to me. Typically, your subject looks like a cardboard cutout when over sharpened.

  15. Right. Thought so. That explains it.:smile:

    Interesting info. Thanks for that.
  16. Thanks Gary. It's always very helpful (and quite rare) to get highly specific feedback. I wonder if you could help me some more here. Do you think any of these versions (with some mild changes to the sharpening) is enough to cure the problem?

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    P1100372 PS3 by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

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    P1100372 PS4 by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

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    P1100372 PS5 by gardenersassistant, on Flickr
  17. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Hey Nick,

    Sorry, but they all look about the same with no significant difference. Sharpening, (if I'm wrong will someone please correct me). In simple terms, it is edges which define an object. Edges are defined by contrast. Sharpening creates/enhances the contrast, typically by creating a thin light colored or dark colored edge on the existing edge, thereby creating greater contrast. The thicker and more contrast the sharpening edge the greater the sharpening. At a point the sharpening creates the look of a two-dimensional cardboard cut-out. This look is distracting and appears somewhat artificial. If you look at the edge of the pigeon's breast and under the back wings you'll see a halo like effect. A thin light colored line separating the edge. That visible line is what gives the cardboard cut-out look. That line can be minimized through less sharpening or greater blending et al. Sharpening is best reviewed at 100% crop.


    I don't have many birds but, as an example, here is one which is sharp without a visible halo:

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  18. Thanks for the detailed feedback and advice Gary. I do appreciate it. However, I'm scratching my head a bit here though, because:

    The image I posted had (what I thought of as rather mild) defogging and (what I thought of as rather mild) sharpening.

    For the third of the new images, I dropped the defogging and halved the sharpening (Amount).

    For the second of the new images, I kept the defogging and dropped the sharpening.

    For the first of the new images, I dropped both the defogging and the sharpening, so the image had no sharpening. Just a (what I considered to be mild) Curves and a resize in Photoshop.

    The picture was captured with the in-camera sharpening turned down to the minimum (-2).

    So I'm sure you can see why I'm a bit puzzled.:confused: 
  19. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    What does the bottom of the bird look like at 100% crop? I am not a post processing wiz ... if someone with more proficiency would like to add their two cents ... I'm all for that.
  20. Here we go, 100% crop from the original, untouched, out of camera JPEG.

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    P1100372 100pc crop by gardenersassistant, on Flickr
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